September 13, 2014

R&D - Some More Ring Cutting, Why Not?

This summer flew by fast before I realized it's almost gone.  I didn't maille much; just some experiments here and there; those were fun!

But I know there are quite a number of projects on my to-do list, waiting for me to get started.  Well, to be exact, they're waiting for the jump rings to be ready, namely several different sizes of niobium rings.  Time to cut some rings!!  Nothing like firing up a few power tools to get things going fast :-)

The first batch:  Some niobium rings in 1.3 mm wire, 1/4" ID, for a custom order of a Forget-Me-Not bracelet.

Yes, I'm starting from scratch, I mean, raw niobium wire, that is :-)  17 gauge SWG, at 1.3 mm thick, 20 feet long, just under 2.5 oz.  Power winding in 4 batches onto 1/4" transfer punch.

Yes, I know there are the messy over coiling on the ends.  They used to bother me a lot... Not any more; don't sweat the small stuff, I was told!

Here's why having a Ringinator is a major plus:  Cut off the messy ends, run the good coils through the ring cutter. And in no time, you get this!

Well, there were a few more steps in between... like washing, tumbling, sifting thru the stainless steel shots, and 2 rounds of QC: first one to separate the obvious scraps; second to pick out the defects, like over- or under-cuts, non-circulars, severely bruised, etc.  See the pile of short coils and squigglies?  I used to labor over a hand saw for hours on end (felt like it...) trying to recover them; not anymore; they go into other future projects and experiments!

Then I'm left with the pile on the right, 170+ nice, clean cut jump rings, ready to go.  As to the middle 5 rings, they are randomly picked out, properly closed to be measured for the actual ID entered on my spreadsheet.  Yes, good documentation is not only a virtue, it's a necessity, for a complicated computer system, as well as a lovely handmade chainmaille bracelet!

What have I learned from this batch of rings?  Mind the direction when winding wire.  Noticed the two rings above have different handedness?  The right-handed ring on the left, and the left-handed ring on the right.  Do they make any difference in the end product?  For the majority of weaves, probably not.  But I'll admit, having consistent ring handedness does seem to contribute to a smooth flow of hand movement during weaving.

What do you think?  Have you noticed any advantage or disadvantage in using mixed handedness of rings?  Or am I over analyzing and missing the fun?  LOL!

Next step in prep:  Add some colors!  Stay tuned ;-)

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